Social media has quickly overtaken society as a fun venue to chat with friends and stay up to date on daily life. However, social media activity can lead you to inadvertently releasing extensive information online about you that you may not realize. Once it has been posted online, it is public information and can be used against you in any situation, including a lawsuit.
Social Media Privacy Laws
Your information is still accessible to everyone, even though you only follow or are friends with a certain group of people. Defense attorneys can search your profile or profiles of friends who have tagged you in pictures and posts. The sites most commonly used are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. In certain situations, defense attorneys can even find ways to access your text messages.
The amount of your online information that can be used depends on the judge. Sometimes a judge will only allow the defense access to certain platforms, but it is also possible that the defense will be granted access to all your information.
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How It Can Impact Your Case in Florida
Unsurprisingly, public information can strongly affect a case, usually negatively. There are many situations in which social media would impact your lawsuit, for example.
If you were in a car accident in Florida and filed a lawsuit claiming that you suffered an injury to your leg during the accident, and any proof of activity or sports afterward could ruin that claim. The defense could go on your Facebook page and find that a friend tagged a photo of you playing basketball following the accident. This could disprove the extent of the injury and most likely deeply weaken your case.
The defense can also use social media to disprove emotional damage. If you file a claim that an incident gave you significant emotional distress, the court will expect your social media posts to reflect that. If the defense accesses your Facebook profile and sees activity that doesn’t match to your account of emotional distress, the defense may use it to prove that you did not suffer severe emotional trauma.
This can affect almost any type of personal injury case. People take to social media anytime anything happens in their lives, in many cases allowing the public far too much access to personal information.
Protect Yourself From Social Media Damage
You can take some basic steps during a case to help prevent your social media presence from affecting your claim. If you were injured or damaged in any way in an accident, do not lie to the court about the extent of your injuries. You could get caught in a lie because of a social media post and it could ruin your case.
Avoid posting anything that has to do with your lawsuit and injury online. No matter what you are posting, the defense could find a way to construe this information as incriminating and ruin your case. Additionally, make sure your friends and family do not post anything about you. The defense can obtain information about you through other people’s posts, as well.
Make sure that all your accounts are set with the highest privacy levels and do not accept any new friend requests after a personal injury. While they may still be able to access your information, this action will make it significantly more difficult.
If you are trying to navigate a personal injury case in Florida, you need an experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney who has experience and who knows what methods the defense is going to try. At Chalik & Chalik, we can give you support and guidance, building you the most bulletproof case possible. We know what is needed to win a personal injury case and will represent you with passion and determination. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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